Note to Mickey Kaus

Mickey Kaus would do more for the New Democratic cause if he occasionally criticized a Republican.

MP’s don’t usually run onto the battlefield, shouting enemy slogans, and shoot erring soldiers in the back.

Actually, I have considerable affection for Mickey and some gratitude for past favors, plus some sympathy with Mickey’s announced project of reducing the influence of, e.g., the tearchers’ unions, in Democratic politics. He’s right, in my view, to think that some of what they ask for really isn’t in the public interest and that kowtowing to them costs us votes. But if that’s Mickey’s goal, then his effectiveness in pursuing it would be greatly increased if he made it clear which side he’s on by attacking Republican corruption, incompetence, and intolerance as often and as vigorously as he attacks the Democrats he dislikes. His consistent failure to do so remains a puzzle.

Now my old friend Bill Occam might strop his razor and then suggest that someone who dislikes all unions (not just public-sector parasites’ guilds), fears Latinos, and isn’t opposed to cutting taxes for the very rich while blowing the deficit wide open might actually not want Democrats to win. Bill might point out that the least hypothesis is that Mickey is actually a Republican at heart, or alternatively that he’s just an opportunist filling an open niche.

But I’m not that cynical. I think Mickey genuinely loves the Democratic Party, just as many an abusive husband dearly loves his wife. The bruises and broken bones, however, remain.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

81 thoughts on “Note to Mickey Kaus”

  1. Pray tell, Mr. Kleiman, what is it that you find so offensive about teachers'unions? The reason they continue to exist is because there are administrators and school boards which are abusive, full of petty tyrants, and absent teachers' unions many teachers would have no due process protections at all.
    Full disclosure – as my "name" makes clear I am a teacher. I have served as a building rep for a very large school. I have presented at a state-wide teachers' union conference.
    I do not agree with all that some whose real career is their union activism and not their teaching advocate.
    That said, I continue to belong to and be active in the union because absent the protections of unions many good teachers would be unable to function effectively with their students. As a very much outside the lines teacher I sympathize. And I really don't like the hostility towards teachers' unions I see displayed by many who do not know the reality of our public schools, which so easily serve as everyone's favorite whipping boys.
    I knew Kaus back when he was hired as a speechwriter for the Holling for President effort in 1983. I wasn't impressed with him then, and have not been since. I think Mickey Kaus is full of Mickey Kaus.
    I am a bit disappointed in you – I have not really seen Democrats "kowtowing" (now there's a racist remark for you) to teachers'unions for quite some time – far too much of the approach has been that of the DLC which has, quite frankly, been hostile to unions of all kinds, especially those of public employees at any level.
    have nice evening.

  2. My impression of Kaus is that he has a colossal ego, and deeply resents that he isn't much, much more famous and well-known. He is destructive to Democratic causes these days, making him a phony in my book.
    I'm disappointed you're being so kind to him, Mark..on the other hand maybe it was a big step for you to go this far. If so, thank you and congratulations.

  3. I, a standard issue democrat, just gave up reading Kaus a while back because he was constantly whining about the mote in the Democrat's eye while ignoring the wreckage the Republicans were creating. I recall searching for "Bush" on one of his blog pages in the past few years and coming up with a couple of relatively neutral mentions, while he was passive-aggressively slamming Democrat after Democrat for meaningless issues.
    There's a word for that kind of blogging: Republican hack.
    Practically all the other Dem blogs I read take swipes at Dems occasionally. Kaus does it constantly, and very little at Republicans.
    If I, as a standard issue Democrat, can't read Kaus, his policy recommendations (which, Josh pegged in that video as politically idiotic) will have zero effect on me as a Democratic voter. From the polically clueless jibberish he was pontificating about with Josh, I'm glad for that at least.
    I'm not sure who does read Kaus other than people who hate Democrats as much as Kaus does.

  4. I ignore Kaus.
    The long campaign against teachers' unions – which began in the 60's around the same time as the long campaign against Social Security – leaves me unmoved. I went to school in 7 different school systems and know teachers in public schools. I am horrified by the petty tyrants who "administer" our school systems.
    The manta of "local control" and how it improves quality is never applied to automobile manufacturing, movies, defense, or anything else that the nation values. The idea that you can split a vital industry into 26,000 fiefdoms and then get quality is ludicrous. Look at our election boards and the vote fraud issue.
    This has nothing to do with unions and everything to do with making work for small town Republicans. Just like the banking system.

  5. Kaus?
    Who is this Kaus of which you speak?
    Donald _Kaul_, now there's a commentator.
    Or was, for forty years.
    Kaus, you say? Never heard of him.

  6. In re: Kaus — who? Ignore it, and it'll go away.
    In re: teacher's unions, get back to me when your ire is spread in a dollar-weighted amount on all overcompensated professionals. That is to say, when you write 250 editorials decrying CEO pay for every one whinging about public-sector unions.
    The data don't lie. Your mouthing the GOP line here doesn't change it. That you yourself have tenure and suck at the public teat just makes my reading experience *extra* special.

  7. Our school district had such a horrible teacher, she was turned in by other teachers after the board ignored parent and student complaints. It took 2 years of paying her for 9 months of not-working, continued summers off, two weeks at Christmas, a fall break, a spring break, 10 "personal days" and only paying $2 per month for the best benefits package on earth. She was abusive to students, had her students scores drop 20 points on standardized tests. The Board spent $40,000 in legal fees. For someone who should have been fired on the spot for gross negligence, instead the taxpayer spent over $250,000 because a union is so corrupt. I will always vote for the candidate endorsed by the teachers union, and I know hundreds of other parents who feel the same.

  8. Gee, I wonder why democrats keep losing elections they could/should win? One frickin dem decides to point out shortcomings on the left rather than play cheerleader, and you're ready to lynch him. Ask yourself if a dem other than Kerry could have won in 2004, then go back and read his anti-Kerry columns during the primary. Better yet, don't and keep doing what you're doing. Go Ned, go!

  9. Ken:
    My problem with teachers' unions isn't that they ask for more money. I'd like to see excellent teachers making six-figure salaries, and have said so before. And I don't deny that schools, like other workplaces, need protections for workers against petty tyranny.
    My objection to teachers' unions is that they make it harder to get rid of teachers who aren't excellent, block most efforts to pay for performance rather than for seniority and taking courses, and (most of all) support school board candidates committed to preventing the reforms our public schools desperately need.
    (As to "kowtow" as a racist remark, what the hell is that about? But if it bothers you, you can substitute "prostrate themselves" without loss of meaning. The fact remains.)

  10. Kaus seems a bit the old school libertarian leaning democrat, rather than the leftist type that has taken over. He probably is upset/bitter at the old school being pushed out and the new school coming in and trashing the place.
    It might be called the democratic party, but it is not the same party of even 25 years ago. Kaus and others who stay in the party to try and change it back to the JFK ideals they can support have an impossible task. On the other hand, they have no where else to go.

  11. I don't think Kaus is about party politics. He is about ideas; specifically the idea of equality. The issues he cares about (education, welfare, immigration) go directly to this point.
    The lack of a decent public education system hurts those at the bottom. He believes that vested interests are a block to progress in this area.
    On welfare, he believed that reform would raise people out of a culture of dependency. He was proved right.
    On immigration, he believes that waves and waves of illegal immigrants lower wages for ordinary Americans. It's hard to disagree with him.
    (This, by the way, is a perfect example of his lack of partisanship. He attacks both Democrats and Republicans who don't agree with him mercilessly.)
    Throughout all these issues is a commitment to an ideal of trying to make the US a more equal society through pragmatism. To those who label him a Republican, ask yourselves if this is an ideal shared by the GOP?

  12. "The lack of a decent public education system hurts those at the bottom. He believes that vested interests are a block to progress in this area."
    No, it's the inconsistent levels of quality of public education from state to state. I went to public school in Florida, Alabama and graduated from a US DOD high school in Germany. In Florida in the 1960's we had textbooks from the 1940's. In Alabama in the 1970's I didn't have to worry about that because for many of my classes I had to buy the textbooks (the head of the local school board was the sole textbook dealer in town).
    The best education I had was at the DOD school. It was well-funded and the teachers were well motivated.

  13. I understand your argument that the Democratic Party's support of the teachers unions may lead to some bad public policy, but how does "kowtowing to them cost us votes?" Is there some anti-teacher voting bloc out there that I'm not aware of?

  14. Well, why couldn't one argue that just as the Left's (yes, painting with broad brush strokes) criticism of America emanates from their love of their country and their desire to make it better, Kaus's critiques of the Democratic Party is similarly motivated?
    Then there's the question of whether the criticism is warranted and has substance. As the saying goes, before questioning a person's motives – even if the motives are illegitimate – first answer his argument.
    SMG

  15. Mark: The reason those protections exist for teachers (which, btw, rarely make it as difficult to fire a teacher as detractors claim — teachers can be 'fired' by refusing to renew their contract) is because of school boards.
    Have you ever seen what sort of power-mad and flaming morons run for, and sadly win, elections to local school boards? And the idiots they often appoint to oversee school systems?
    I'd happily (and every teacher I know would agree) trade teacher job-protections for the requirement that all school-board members be required to be retired teachers with 20+ years of experience in public schools.
    The school boards and superindendents can do far more damage, which is why teachers formed unions to protect themselves.
    My mother spent her last year in the school district she'd worked for for fifteen years documenting her actions and objections because the superindendent had hired administrators so unqualified that they were breaking state and federal law daily. She was quite worried about her legal liability, despite the fact that she objected every step of the way.
    The superindendent, ironically enough, was fired in mid-March of that school year after the parents had collected some 15,000 signatures in an effort to force the school-board to deal with her. What ultimately got her fired wasn't her incomptence, the cronies she hired, the total lack of teaching or administrative experience — but the fact that she misused district funds to take a vacation.
    School boards have a lot of power and VERY little oversight. Most people don't care until they do something REALLY stupid (like the Kansas state school board). It's even harder to screw up that visibly on the local school board.
    My wife got threatened — three times over the course of a year — with being "fired" because she dared to write up some school board member's brat for skipping classes. I can promise that without those union-gained protections, she'd have lost her job for doing her job.

  16. Mark
    due process always makes things more difficult. In criminal cases we have to prove the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the nature of due process.
    I do NOT believe in differential pay as do you, because no teacher works in isolation. Oh, and btw, by the standards most use for differential pay I would be far better compensated than I am now, because my kids tend to do quite well on standardized and external tests, and I don't need much help managing my classroom.
    There are many reasons it can be difficult to et rid of a bad teacher. Quite often it is because the administration does not do ITS job of documenting, counseling, etc — they just want to move summarily. And if able to do it in the most egregious situations, some administrators would use that power to go after teachers who oppose what they want to do, even if what they want to do violates contractual agreements, is unfair, is not even beneficial to the students.
    I HAVE served as a building rep, the first in my building in 10 years. The previous principal, who in many ways was terrific, was so hostile to the union (going after reps) that no one wanted to take on the aggravation. The then new (and still rpesent) principal wanted a union rep because the needs of our teaches were different than those of many in other buildings. he asked the department chairs who would make a good rep, and they all put my name up, and so I got it.
    In that position I made sure the letter of the law was followed, and as a result was able to get out of the building two teachers who did NOT belong, and also refused to take on the case of another teacher whose problem was not covered by the contract (she had mental problems, and it took several years to get her out, and I helped document the problem even after I was no longer building rep).
    As to Karen, who will never vote for anyone endorsed by a teachers' union, I feel sorry for you — you have allowed yourself to be defined by others. That's kind of sad.
    As to the former student who wants to kill all the teachers, well that's another problem. There are good teachers and not so good teachers. Many teachers could be much better were they given support, mentoring, and had time to breath. let them observe other teachers and have other teachers observe them to help them, not just be observed by administrators who have official supervisory authority.
    We lose as many teachers to issues of control as we do to issues of salary. We also do not give most teachers sufficient time to reflect about what they are doing – if you teach 150 adolescents (and I have had over 180 a time) there is insufficient time to do all one should were one to be the best teacher one can be.
    I start with the following attitude — when you make universal statements — about teachers' unions, evangelical churches, Democratic politicians, military personnel, police, etc — you are engaging in ad hominems and I do not accept ad hominem descriptions.
    Finally, Mark, as to"kow tow" — it is as offensive to many of Chinese background as would be to "jew down" in negotiations would be to you or me, or the term "gyp" is to one of Romani background. I think it especially incumbent upon those of us of backgrounds that have been subject to that kind of either deliberate insult (not applicable in your use of the term, I know) or insensitivity to recognize when a term we use might be offensive to someone else. That is why I called it to your attention.

  17. I always assumed that Mickey was writing for Democrats, not for Republicans. Why attack Republicans if you're not writing for them? For the sport of it? To demonstrate your partisan bona fides for those who care more about team loyalty than ideas? Kaus's big idea is equality, and some of his foundational assumptions (the need for federally run health system, for example) aren't Republican at all.
    When you see what you believe is the nation's only way to implement your political goals going off the track, a gentle nudge might seem appropriate. I only wish that Kaus thought highly enough about Republicans to be critical of them.

  18. Kaus' claim in the blogginghead's debate with Marshall that the top third of social security recipients have income from assets equal to or more than $50,000 per year is absurd. I did some searches and found nothing in reality that comes even close to that. Perhaps for the top third of recipients, social security earnings (which average around $10,000 per year) comprise less than half of their income.
    I don't see how Kaus can possibly claim to be a policy "expert" when he is so far off on something as basic as social security.

  19. Do we really need another echo-chamber? Kaus fills an obvious void in party criticism. We all know where to go to find the standard and fully justified attack on the Republican party. To demand a few snarky, anti-Republican remarks from Kaus is just silly. His comments on Kerry during the 2004 elections were spot on. Admit it, there was only one reason (corrupt election stealing aside!) that the Democratic party lost in 2004: the candidate.

  20. Kaus's repeating of Republican talking poinys hardly ammounts to constructive criticism.
    And he is more often than not just plain wrong. He's whole welfare critcism has been proven false and hasn't moved on from the battle thats been over for more than a decade. He's a small man still trying to remove himself from the father whose wealth he lives off of.

  21. I don't know about anywhere else but in Massachusetts, where I am a public school teacher, your contract has to be renewed every year once you've been at a school for 3 years. The only two exceptions are a "reduction in force" in the entire system, where those with lowest seniority, not least effectiveness, have to go first–and very severe problems, which have to be exhaustively documented.
    Steve Smith asks, "Is there some anti-teacher voting bloc out there that I'm not aware of?" No, but there are a significant number of people who think teacher's unions are more concerned with the private interests of teachers and less interested in the public interest of education. A lot of them think that when the unions say, "Jump," Democrats say, "How high?" Getting them to feel different would help Democrats win.

  22. Did you ever notice that the right wing has a much healthier attitude to self-criticism? From neutering Trent Lott to highlighting pork like the Alaska bridge to nowhere to Abramoff exposed by The Weekly Standard, they are willing to clean house, at least a lot more than Dems are willing to do. Mickey wants to be a Democrat, why can't we listen to what he has to say rather than attacking the messinger all the time?

  23. "From neutering Trent Lott to highlighting pork like the Alaska bridge to nowhere to Abramoff exposed by The Weekly Standard, they are willing to clean house, at least a lot more than Dems are willing to do."
    LOL. Yes Tom Delay went gently into that good night, Bob Ney dropped his reelection bid immediately and Randy "Duke" Cunningham stepped down the minute he came under investigation.
    Keep dreaming.

  24. Ah, it's that Democratic big tent welcoming different perspectives in a spirit of graciousness and welcome again, I see.

  25. Teacherken incriminates himself, over and over again.
    He says that we need Teachers' Unions to protect teachers from the caprices of the petty tyrants and idiots in the school boards.
    Yet the teachers' Unions do not seem to be on the vanguard of reforming any aspect of the public education apparatus, in spite of all the cronys, functionaries, slobs, and cretins it invariably positions at the helm. Kaus' larger point is that the Unions block all attempts at education reform; therefore, by defending the Union, Ken endorses the very school system he condemns.
    There are other ways through which Ken betrays himself. His bizarre allusion that the phrase "Kowtowing" is racist, and his insipid comment that someone who votes against the Teachers' Union line is "allowing himself to be defined by others"(?) suggests that his is one of those rare minds that is foggy enough to actually take seriously the nonsensical codswallop they serve up in our nation's teachers colleges. (And if he isn't, and does in fact agree that it's gibberish I guess it further contributes to his support of change ressistant obstructionist tearchers unions.)
    I see too many teachers get caught up in this romantic vision of themselves in which Teacherken seems to indulge, which presents a teacher as a perpetually beleaguered and underappreciated local superhero and friend of the public, rather than what they are: civil servants who deliver one vital public service amongst myriad others.

  26. …there are a significant number of people who think teacher's unions are more concerned with the private interests of teachers and less interested in the public interest of education. A lot of them think that when the unions say, "Jump," Democrats say, "How high?" Getting them to feel different would help Democrats win.
    I'm sure that there are people who believe that. My question is whether the people who feel that way, but would otherwise be inclined to vote Democratic on other issues, outnumber those who believe that teachers should be paid well and generally support unions, collective bargaining, etc. I suppose the analogous group on the Republican side is the NRA.

  27. "I don't think Kaus is about party politics. He is about ideas…Throughout all these issues is a commitment to an ideal of trying to make the US a more equal society"
    Kind of explains why there are so many of us who used to vote Dem who now pull the Repub lever.
    I used to live in Detroit. Dems have been in charge there forever. Not a pretty picture. But the Dem rhetoric _sounds_ good 🙂

  28. Are policemen paid differently based on the change in the crime rate in the areas they patrol? If not, then why should teachers be regarded any differently (i.e., any statistic will reflect the socio-economic conditions of the environment as much as the teacher's "performance)?

  29. The teacher's unions and their opposition to school vouchers will be what breaks the DNC hold on the african american vote.
    Suburban white liberals need to send their kids to the average urban school (not some "charter school" set up in a rich suburb) so see why we want vouchers so much. The children only get one chance to get educated.

  30. "Are policemen paid differently based on the change in the crime rate in the areas they patrol? If not, then why should teachers be regarded any differently (i.e., any statistic will reflect the socio-economic conditions of the environment as much as the teacher's "performance)?"
    Which is not the same as saying that student performance is completely divorced from teacher performance. Teachers' unions would become a lot more persuasive to me if they abandoned their efforts to protect their members from accountability for sloth and incompetence, and began working cooperatively with other stakeholders to devise metrics which fairly evaluated educators' performance in the context of all other factors (e.g. student IQ, parental involvement, prior years' teachers' failure to teach) which impact upon student performance. Students, parents, teachers and administrators all need to beheld strictly accountable. Just because fair measurement is difficult doesn't make less indispensable.
    So long as the teachers unions' and students' interests are diametrically opposed, my sympathy will remain with the students.

  31. Remember the chattering about 'What's The Matter With Kansas' and how the GOP spins it so blue collar types vote against their own economic interest? Converesely, I wonder why African-Americans are so beholden to the party of the teachers unions. Unions which have so hamstrung reform in inner city education that it virtually guarantees that young African-Americans will never get far in the new economy.

  32. It's a disgrace that it's so difficult to fire teachers who can't teach kids to read or even in those rare-but-seemingly-frequent-due-to-publicity ones who molest kids.
    The kind of reforms of teachers-union rules required to make a lot of voters happy aren't that major. They wouldn't even have to be pay-related. Just make it easier to fire the bottom 5% of teachers in the country and you've got a political winner. Can't some Democrat running for national office suggest this? It's not like everyone in America didn't go to school and recognizes that there are way more dopey teachers than say the bottom 5%.
    Democratic leaders criticize NCLB all the time, but do they really imagine that in inner-cities where the schools are awful the idea of allowing kids to attend better schools is unpopular? The Democrats could lock up the black vote for another generation by supporting change. Arguing over whether that money should be allowed to pay for religious-affiliated schools is a privilege of the blogging community who overwhelmingly went to good schools. It's a good argument to have, but in the meantime there's a lot of parents who just want their kids going to better schools and it's virtually impossible to do anything about it, and they vote.
    Regardless of whether NCLB is good or bad for America, at least it's an attempt to do something about what everyone acknowledges is a big problem. The easy campaign checks from the teachers unions shouldn't prevent every Democrat from proposing some change. Someone could even get that "maverick" label that McCain enjoys.

  33. One frickin dem decides to point out shortcomings on the left rather than play cheerleader, and you're ready to lynch him.
    Let me explain something to those incapable of reading. Kaus does hardly anything BUT attack the left or some other target. In 2004, he spent all his time attacking Kerry. He went on attacks on such obscure matters as where Kerry slept on the Capitol after an anti-war demonstration in the 1970s. No substantative discussions, no discussion of policy differences, just this crap.
    When it comes to welfare reform or education, I would probably agree with Kaus. But the fact is that the Republican party has been in power and has taken some major steps such as IRaq that have had very nmajor impacts on the US and the world. Kaus, of course, can hardly be bothered to comment on that.

  34. His comments on Kerry during the 2004 elections were spot on. Admit it, there was only one reason (corrupt election stealing aside!) that the Democratic party lost in 2004: the candidate.
    No, Kaus confined himself to attacking Kerry personally, saying he hated him, he even dislikes his daughters and such nonsense. He repeated SWT lies. Maybe he wouldn't have disliked any other Dem nominee that much, but basically there is no indication he wouldhave tretaed any other Dem differently.

  35. Kaus seems a bit the old school libertarian leaning democrat, rather than the leftist type that has taken over.
    Nonsense. He opposes immigration and has hardly ever commented on Iraq. Most libertarians would support the former and oppose the latter.

  36. "He is about ideas; specifically the idea of equality. The issues he cares about (education, welfare, immigration) go directly to this point.
    The lack of a decent public education system hurts those at the bottom. He believes that vested interests are a block to progress in this area.
    On welfare, he believed that reform would raise people out of a culture of dependency. He was proved right"
    On welfare and education I would probably be in the same camp as Kaus. But a lot of those issues are yesterdays issues. There are extremely important agendas being pushed by Rethugs. Why no Kaus comment on that ? ANd for someone "committed to equality", he spends almost no time on more funding for schools etc.
    "On immigration, he believes that waves and waves of illegal immigrants lower wages for ordinary Americans. It's hard to disagree with him."
    1) There is plenty of evidence from econ studies that any such impact is relatively minor.
    2)Kaus hardly ever comments on the minimum wage, and hardly ever on other matters that could impact wages for ordinary Americans — free trade etc.
    3) Kaus never really shows much enthusaism for aything else that has increased such as income inequality. He favors lower taxes for the wealthy.
    During the recent immigrants strike in LA, he wrote a column saying it was delightful to be able to drive in LA without immigrant traffic. THAT is his prime problem — he's a small hateful man who hates immigrants. Perfectly in line with Michelle Malkin
    "(This, by the way, is a perfect example of his lack of partisanship. He attacks both Democrats and Republicans who don't agree with him mercilessly.) "
    No, he attacks Dems mercilessly. Repubs, he tut-tuts over at most.

  37. During the recent immigrants strike in LA, he wrote a column saying it was delightful to be able to drive in LA without immigrant traffic. THAT is his prime problem — he's a small hateful man who hates immigrants. Perfectly in line with Michelle Malkin
    I wish it were more difficult to get left wing partisains to make fools of themselves. The slightest provocation seems enough to drive them into hilarious yet depressing snits.
    Michelle Malkin is an immigrant; so are Peter Brimelow and a host of other immigration restrictionists/reformers.
    To be an immigrant who favors low immigration is about as contradictory as to be alive and pro-choice at the same time.
    Michelle Malkin rarely talks about legal immigration; she nearly exclusively takes the law-enforcement angle, although she has on occassion expressed that she feels overall immigration (particularly from poorer populations without any cultural emphasis on education and social advancement). (Note that I consider Malkin a professional hack who is negotiable on principles. She deviates from the Republican establishment on immigration, but tows the line on Iraq, which has not won me over as a fan to say the least, though even having some principles puts her light years ahead of the GOP establishment.)
    Even erg finds himself admitting that current levels of immigration adversely affect the poor. He just chooses to minimize the magnitude of the harm by citing the lowest-end figures he can find and ignoring the hidden burdens of health, crowding, and education (ironically enough!) and having to perform civil functions in umpteen languages and countless other drags. Irregardless, he seems to feel that indulging his diversity fetish (it seems to bother erg that Mr. Kaus bears no such fetish, which is now apparently a strict requirement for Liberal recognition) outweighs the harm to the American working class, of which even he admits, though he understates it. And of course, these very same poor people whom err and company care so much about, are up in arms about current immigration levels and hate illegal immigration. (Under the sway of an insidious right-wing propaganda machine, right err? Way to save your working class heroes from themselves!)
    Kaus describes himself as a neo-centerist, so it makes about as much sense for err to demand fealty from him as it does to demand it from Malkin. Kaus is sympathetic to your boys erg (Lord knows why) but you're right; he's not one of you. I can assure you that I speak on behalf of the overwhelming majority on the right when I say that he's not one of us either. I dissagree with Mick on many things, but he can engage the right as well as the left in dialogue, which is needed in our navel-gazing political culture. You, erg, might want to try something on that order before you call people who dissagree with you "small hatefull people". You'll embarass yourself a lot less.

  38. Kaus? Still bored.
    Kleiman's argument on teacher's unions: misspecified. Capitalism bases not on duty, but on greed. A union that turns jobs into sinecures is a good union for its membership.
    The teachers union makes a tempting target, but even if you could break it tomorrow, the very real problem you have identified would remain unsolved. Your quarrel not with them. It is either with the structure of our democracy and economy itself (which I doubt), or it is with those responsible for making policy work.
    As a policy wonk, you should know better.

  39. "I wish it were more difficult to get left wing partisains to make fools of themselves. The slightest provocation seems enough to drive them into hilarious yet depressing snits."
    I wish wingnuts possessed more brains. If they did, they would avoid making the sort of brainless statements seen here from BC.
    "Michelle Malkin is an immigrant; so are Peter Brimelow and a host of other immigration restrictionists/reformers."
    Totally irrelevant. In fact, a tendency to want to pull up the ladder after crossing over is veru normal, as yourself seem to admit. A total non-sequitir.
    "Even erg finds himself admitting that current levels of immigration adversely affect the poor. He just chooses to minimize the magnitude of the harm by citing the lowest-end figures he can find and ignoring the hidden burdens of health, crowding, and education (ironically enough!) and having to perform civil functions in umpteen languages and countless other drags. Irregardless, he seems to feel that indulging his diversity fetish (it seems to bother erg that Mr. Kaus bears no such fetish, which is now apparently a strict requirement for Liberal recognition) outweighs the harm to the American working class, of which even he admits, though he understates it. And of course, these very same poor people whom err and company care so much about, are up in arms about current immigration levels and hate illegal immigration."
    Clearly you're much smarter than a lot of economists who've studied this issue. So smart that it amazes me your brain hasn't exploded yet from the vaccum within. Any sensible person (a category about as far removed from you as Pluto) realizes there are both costs and benefits to immigration. People like you, Kaus and Malkin focus only on the costs, ignoring any benefits (and there are economic and other benefits).
    Brimelow (and the National Review) is essentially anti-all immigration (except the occsional Elian Gonzalez), and Malkin isn't far removed from that. Malkin was frothing at the mouth for all illegals to be deported from LA. Clearly anyone who's not a BC (Brainless Cretin) knows that that is impossible. Kaus does not advocate something so draconian, but he is anti-immigration, including most legal immigration.
    And like I said, you're making a total fool of yourself — which is not surprising since it seems to be a congenital condition. And for what its worth, I support free trade, I generally support immigration (albeit not illegal immigration). Only an Brainless Cretin would shed crocodile tears over the poor, but not focus on or suggest anything else, including say minimum wage increases etc. to make the life of the poor better. One is then entitled to conclude that the problem these people have is with immigration, not with any attendant inequality.
    "Kaus describes himself as a neo-centerist, so it makes about as much sense for err to demand fealty from him as it does to demand it from Malkin. Kaus is sympathetic to your boys erg (Lord knows why) but you're right; he's not one of you. I can assure you that I speak on behalf of the overwhelming majority on the right when I say that he's not one of us either. I dissagree with Mick on many things, but he can engage the right as well as the left in dialogue, which is needed in our navel-gazing political culture. You, erg, might want to try something on that order before you call people who dissagree with you "small hatefull people". You'll embarass yourself a lot less."
    And you Brainless Cretin, might want to take your head out of your own hindquarters, where it seems to be firmly lodged. You might even learn some logic and reason. I don't demand fealty from him, at all. I simply see him as someone much more in sync with the wingnuts than with anyone else, and as such, he deserves to be treated as such. I could care less whether he calls himself a liberal, a democrat, a communist, or a minuteman.

  40. erg,
    Brimelow (and the National Review) is essentially anti-all immigration (except the occsional Elian Gonzalez), and Malkin isn't far removed from that. Malkin was frothing at the mouth for all illegals to be deported from LA.
    Wanting to enforce immigration laws "isn't far removed from" being "anti-all immigration?"

  41. Wanting to enforce immigration laws "isn't far removed from" being "anti-all immigration?"
    Well, the NR is definitely anti all immigration. I trust you will concede that. Malkin is pretty much anti all immigration as well. Her website includes lots of anti-immigration and anti-immigrant rants. Malkin makes no real distinction either, ranting abotu Aztlan and the like and ranting against all Hispanic immigrants, not just illegals.
    Finally, any sane person, even one who wants to stop illegal immigration, realizes the patent impossibility of deporting 13 million illegals. No sane person would suggest that.

  42. Erg thinks that he is posing a nuanced argument about the costs and benefits of illegal immigration, by calling me a brainless cretin who insists concentrating only on the costs, presumably out of pure bigotry, although ugh has enough sense of self-parody to avoid explicit mention of the term, though not enough sense to avoid performative contradictions in virtually all of his sentences.
    Even on his own terms Erg does not make sense. Granting that immigration poses costs and benefits implies as much room for Mr. X to say "the costs outweigh the benefits" without being branded as a wingnut, as it does for Mr. Y to state the opposite. Eugh is free to dissagree with myself or Mr. Kaus on this without making an ass out of himself. Erg's assininity lies in his inability to withstand a hint of demurall from his orthodoxy without succumbing to the vapors and shakes. Astutely, reasonably, and intelligently, Erg attributes to me views on the minimum wage which I never professed and indeed do not harbor. I like relatively high minimum wages. (However, I perferctly understand, having benefited from erg's immense sophistication, that there are costs and benefits to the minimum wage; I simply feel that on this issue, the benefits outweigh the costs, and thus, anybody who dissagrees with me is obviously a dingbat.)
    Malkin and Brimelow focus their anti mass unchecked immigration arguments very differently, as even the slightest familiarity with either of their works makes obvious, (and again, I don't much like Malkin, so I am indeed only slightly familiar with her work). Michelle Malkin is about law-and-order, security risks, and Gov. integrity. Brimelow is much more about cultural cohesion and sovereignty. National Review, far from being indistinguishible from Brimelow, fired him on account of his excessive zeal on the immigration issue, and has proceeded to be ambivalent and tentative about their stance on the borders. (Just to emphasize this point, let us compare reality with erg's claims):
    Erg claims:Brimelow (and the National Review) is essentially anti-all immigration (except the occsional Elian Gonzalez), and Malkin isn't far removed from that.
    Reality: National Review fired Brimelow for being too strident on immigration.
    What an ass! And of course, NR, Malkin, and Brimelow all espouse the same views on the minimum wage.
    By the way, there are several ways to very effectively and painlessly deport 30 (not 13) million illegal aliens. 1st, we deport them at a high rate even now, but our efforts are overwhelmed by the massive influx. If we took care of the influx, even doing nothing that we don't already do, we will have deported 15 million aliens in a decade. If you make it next to impossible for them to get employed or use any government service (barring emergency medical care) many more will leave voluntarily.
    One wonders as to how erg concluded that it would be hard or inhumane to deport 13 million aliens. Maby he is so rational, and holds his head proudly so far above and beyond his ass, that 13 billion struck him as a *really* big number. Hey erg! I've got a bridge in Brooklyn and 13 billion square feet of River for you. Hurry up; it's going cheap!

  43. "Erg thinks that he is posing a nuanced argument about the costs and benefits of illegal immigration, by calling me a brainless cretin who insists concentrating only on the costs, presumably out of pure bigotry, although ugh has enough sense of self-parody to avoid explicit mention of the term, though not enough sense to avoid performative contradictions in virtually all of his sentences."
    No, I called you a brainless cretin because you are one. I do not call you a bigot, becuase you have not demonstrated yourself to be one, and I am fair minded enough to realize that one can be a BC without being a Bigoted Cretin too.
    "Astutely, reasonably, and intelligently, Erg attributes to me views on the minimum wage which I never professed and indeed do not harbor"
    Well, Brainless Cretin, maybe its payback for imputing views on diversity to be which I do not share.

  44. "Malkin and Brimelow focus their anti mass unchecked immigration arguments very differently, as even the slightest familiarity with either of their works makes obvious, (and again, I don't much like Malkin, so I am indeed only slightly familiar with her work). "
    And with reality too, no doubt.
    "Michelle Malkin is about law-and-order, security risks, and Gov. integrity"
    She hosts a blog on her web site that goes on and on about all other sorts of issues as well. I would suggest getting that read to you.
    "National Review, far from being indistinguishible from Brimelow, fired him on account of his excessive zeal on the immigration issue, and has proceeded to be ambivalent and tentative about their stance on the borders"
    False. Occasional NR writers differ over immigration, but the editors have been extremely anti-immigration over the years, as have most of the major magazine articles. They have had ocasional feuds with the equally conservative WSJ Editorial page over immigration (the WSJ is open borders).
    "Erg claims:Brimelow (and the National Review) is essentially anti-all immigration (except the occsional Elian Gonzalez), and Malkin isn't far removed from that.Reality: National Review fired Brimelow for being too strident on immigration."
    I trust you can provide a reference for the last claim about Brimelow being fired for immigration views ? In any case, there is nothing contradictory between those 2 points as well. I never said the positions of the NR and Brimelow were indistinguishable, although Malkin now publishes a lot of Brimelow's journal articles.

  45. "By the way, there are several ways to very effectively and painlessly deport 30 (not 13) million illegal aliens."
    Where did the 30 number come from, BC ? Did you pull it out of your rear end, the way you pull out most of your arguments ?
    "If we took care of the influx, even doing nothing that we don't already do, we will have deported 15 million aliens in a decade."
    Hmm. Perhaps, I should look up the definition of deport. Aha here it is
    Deport — to expel from a country.
    What part of that do you not understand ? If we prevent addition to the number here, that is not deportation to anyone who understands logic or reasoning and is not a BC.
    "One wonders as to how erg concluded that it would be hard or inhumane to deport 13 million aliens."
    Because unlike Brainless Cretins, I know the meaning of the word deport, and I don't spend my spare time sniffing Kaus's hindquarters ?

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